Back to Main Page

Give Me a Break

By: Mrs. Rina Zinkin

The very first pasuk in this week’s parsha states: “Hashem called to Moshe, and Hashem spoke to him from the ohel moed, saying.” Rashi on this pasuk explains that there was  a “kriah” - “calling”  before every statement, saying, or command and that it is “lashon chiba”, a language that indicates affection. Rashi continues with an interesting statement of Chazal: “One might think that there was a “calling” at the breaks (breaks in the text of the Torah indicated by blank spaces). Therefore the Torah writes “vayidaber”, “And Hashem spoke to him”, which implies that only Hashem’s speech was prefaced by a calling and not the breaks. So what purpose did these breaks serve? They were there to give Moshe time to contemplate between one section of the Torah and another, and between one topic and another. How much more so must a simple person learning from a simple person take time to contemplate between subjects and topics.”

Rav Wolbe, zt”l, (in Shiurei Chumash, Parshat Vayikra 1 :1) points out that the fact that Chazal even entertained the possibility that a special calling prefaced each break in the Torah proves that the breaks themselves are an integral part of  the Torah. The breaks are also Torah because they were put there to enable one who learns Torah to take time to contemplate, understand, and incorporate what one has learned. However, since it is different from the rest of the Torah, it does not need a “calling.”

Chazal are teaching us that if one appreciates the importance of these breaks, one’s learning can take on a new significance. One’s limud HaTorah can be on a higher level and be more meaningful. Rav Wolbe, zt”l explains that this idea is the rationale behind “bein hazmanim” vacation days.

Midreshet girls are currently on “Pesach break,” and soon we will all arrive at the spiritual station of Pesach. We must learn the message of the breaks in the Torah and try to take advantage of this time period. “Breaks” from normal routine are opportunities to step out of hectic life and reflect on what we have gained and accomplished over the past few months. “Breaks” allow us the time to internalize the lessons we have learnt and apply these lessons to our lives. “Breaks” provide us with the opportunity to recharge our batteries and prepare ourselves for the future months.

May we be inspired to enter every “break” (Shabbos, Yomin Tovim, vacations…) with excitement and focus.

Shabbat Shalom!





Back to top